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  CSPAN    Key Capitol Hill Hearings    Series/Special. Speeches from policy makers  
   and coverage from around the country. (Stereo)  

    October 29, 2013
    9:00 - 11:00pm EDT  

another huge hole into the constitutional fabric of this noble republic. mr. speaker, daniel webster once said, hold on, my friends, to the constitution and to the republic for which it stands. for miracles do not cluster and what has happened once in 6,000 years may never happen again. so hold on to the constitution. for if the constitution should fall, there will be an aero-- anarchy throughout the world. thank you, mr. speaker. and now, mr. speaker, would like to move to another subject. mr. speaker, the greatest security threat in the world today is that of a nurek leak -- a nuclear-armed iran. and now iran is once again the news of the moment. as talks between the united states and iran have begun. american leaders, given the charge to protect america's
national security, must not be charmed by wolves in sheep's clothing. when innocent syrian civilians were measureslessly attacked by chem -- mercilessly attacked by chemical weapons, the obama administration was caught on its heels in a foreign policy quandary. america was reminded again that the united states must always be vigilant and embrace an international relations framework which enables proactive engagement rather than merely reactionary crisis response. mr. speaker, i desperately hope that these discussions will proceed in the context of the grave reality the human family will face if nuclear weapons fall into the handles of jihadists in iran. to use the slight hely altered words of our secretary of state, mr. speaker, quote, in a world of terrorists and extremists, we ignore these risks at our peril. we simply cannot afford to have
nuclear weapons become the i.e.d. or car bomb of tomorrow. neither our country nor our conscience can bear the costs of inaction. mr. speaker, the u.s.-iran nuclear negotiations act is, quote, an action that will reinforce the prohibition against nuclear weapons development. we're talking about actions that will degrade iran's capacity to use these weapons and ensure that they do not proliferate. with this authorization, the president will simply have the power to make sure the united states of america means what we say, unquote. mr. speaker, actually the words i've just quoted were really just the essential words of secretary kerry's recent justification for wanting to attack bashir al-assad's regime in syria. however, i changed the quote a little bit, mr. speaker. whenever he said syria, i
inserted iran. and whenever he said chemical weapons, i inserted nuclear weapons, mr. speaker. and if this line -- reasons of the administration chooses -- reasoning of the administration chooses, if they choose to stand behind this, then we simply cannot refute the parallel argument represented to a nukeler iran which poses an exponentially greater threat in terms of our security to the united states of america. secretary kerry asserted that mr. obama, quote, means what he says. but, mr. speaker, if the world truly believed that this president means what he says, the chemical weapons crisis in syria would never have occurred place. irst secretary kerry said of the syrian crisis that north korea and iran were closely watching our actions. however, mr. speaker, the converse is actually far more accurate. syria has been closely watching mr. obama's inaction toward north korea and iran since he became president.
and consequently assad felt he could use chemical weapons on innocent men, women and children with inpumity. unfortunately, mr. speaker, -- impunity. unfortunately, mr. speaker, the whole world now sees this president, the u.s. under this president is all talk. however, in the mo this monumentally important issue of preventing iran from gaining nuclear weapons, our critical diplomatic policies must be backed by our immoveble will to back them up by all means necessary. the popular narrative of the obama administration is -- administration is to embrace iran's openness and reward their willingness to negotiate, mr. speaker. ut, mr. speaker, we know united nations resolutionings -- resolution, iaea declarations and diplomatic efforts, including 10 rounds of negotiations toward this regime, have borne absolutely no fruit at all. decades have passed without a single concession from this, the world's leading sponsor of
terror. in 2005 we saw north korea, another rogue nation, petition for, quote, talks about ending their nuclear weapons program. and demanding u.s. concessions. how did they hold up their end of that bargain? they conducted three flagrant nuclear weapons tests. this in spite of the fact that north korea has been sanctioned in terms of economic sanctions into the virtual starvation of their people for now a half century. mr. speaker, iran is closer than ever before and racing toward a full nuclear weapons capability. the iranian government's intentions, actions and capacity to develop nuclear weapons capability and sponsor international terrorism are terrifyingly clear. the time to regain our credibility with both our you a lies and foes alike in this region is now. -- our allies and foes alike in this region is now. before the situation devolves into a syria-like situation,
frantically searching for solutions after the crisis has already begun. to that end, mr. speaker, i have introduced the u.s.-iran nuclear negotiations act. and i urge my colleagues to co-sponsor this bill, along with 25 other members of congress who are now signed on. the u.s.-iran nuclear negotiations act will strengthen the united states' negotiating position in the upcoming talks with iran and it will outline vital congressional priorities on any nuclear negotiations with iran. mr. speaker, a bad deal with iran, of which does not definitively prevent weapons -capable iran, is worse than no deal at all. and i'm afraid that's exactly where this administration may take us. and, mr. speaker, we must not let it happen. whatever the cost is to prevent a nuclear-armed iran, it will pale in insignificance compared
to the cost to our children and the entire human family of allowing the jihadist regime in ran to gain nuclear weapons. and now, mr. speaker, i have a hought i would like to repeat. mr. speaker, in 2012 the supreme court of the united states narrowly but specifically upheld the individual mandate at the heart of obamacare under congress' general taxing power. the court noted specifically that, quote, even if the taxing power enables congress to impose a tax on not obtaining health insurance, any tax must still comply with other requirements in the constitution, unquote. mr. speaker, i want to read that one more time.
even if the taxing power enables congress to impose a tax on not obtaining health insurance, any tax must still comply with other requirements in the constitution, unquote. in short, mr. speaker, obamacare was upheld as a tax. the supreme court did not and has not yet considered a challenge to the affordable care act's taxing provisions on the grounds that it violated the origination clause in the united states constitution. and, mr. speaker, it most certainly did exactly that. mr. speaker, the origination clause is found in article 1, section 7 of the constitution. and it states, quote, all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the house of representatives, unquote. in creating obamacare, senator harry reid took an entirely unrelated bill, h.r. 3590, containing just 714 words, and -- that did not raise taxes,
and then he stripped it of everything but its bill number. he then put the 400,000-word obamacare that raised taxes in 17 different places into this empty shell bill. through this bit of legislative trickery, mr. speaker, mr. reid claims that obamacare originated in the house. when in fact every last provision of obamacare, including the largest tax increase in american history, all came from the senate. mr. speaker, this sort of procedure absolutely ignores and vacates the founders' intent. and it renders the origination clause of our constitution completely meaningless. if it is allowed to stand the origination clause in the constitution is a dead letter, mr. speaker. and this is not a small or marginal issue. the principle behind the
origination clause was the moral justification for our entire war of independence. its importance was expressed through the virginia house of burgesses, the stamp act congress and the first continental congress, all of whom petitioned the crowd -- crown and parliament in english for redress of their tax grievances. it was with these realities in mind that the origination clause of our constitution was written. and without it at the core of the great compromise of 1787, the 13 original states would never have agreed to ratify the constitution of the united states. it is not a small issue, mr. speaker. and when our founding fathers wrote the constitution, they knew it was vital for the power to raise and levy taxes to originate in the people's house. whose members are closest to the elect rat, with two-year -- electorate, two-year terms, rather than the senate whose members sit unchallenged for six-year terms and who do not
proportionally represent the american population and who already enjoy their own unique and separate senate powers intentionally divided by the pramers -- framers between the two chambers. if we as members of the house of representatives, who took a solemn oath to support and defend the constitution, including its origination clause, fail to assert this right and this responsibility as immediate representatives of the people, and those most accountable to them, mr. speaker, we dishonor the founders' memory and we fundamentally abrogate our sworn oath to support and defend the constitution of the united states from all enemies, oreign and domestic. mr. speaker, this fall the u.s. circuit court of appeals for the district of columbia circuit will hear an appeal in the case of sisle v.h.h.s. as to whether or not obamacare violates the origination clause of the constitution. i would urge my colleagues to sign on to h. relation 153 and
to join me in an amick us brief that i will be filing with the court, along with currently 31 other members of congress. this brief expresses our collectsive conviction that the passage -- collective conviction that the passage of obamacare was and is unconstitutional. mr. speaker, obamacare was the largest tax increase in the history of the united states of america. the united states supreme court specifically and officially ruled it a tax. consequently, under nancy pelosi and harry reid, the house and the senate in passing it, in the manner that they did, cat gorically violated -- categorically violated the origination clause without which the u.s. constitution never would have been born in the first place. mr. speaker, it is now the duty of the judiciary to strike down obamacare as a clear violation of the origination clause. by filing this amicus brief, we
hope the judiciary will seize on the opportunity to support and defend the origination clause of this, our united states constitution. and, mr. speaker, if the judiciary does not strike down obamacare as an unconstitutional senate-originated tax, it would, mr. speaker, allow the obama administration to blow yet another huge hole in the constitutional fabric of this noble republic. mr. speaker, daniel webster said something that i think applies so profoundly here. he said, holet on, my friends, to the constitution, and to the republic for which it stands. for miracles do not cluster. and what has happened once in 6,000 years may never happen again. so hold on to the constitution, for if the american constitution should fall, there will be anarchy throughout the world.
mr. speaker, we must defend this constitution. me must, as the house of represent -- we must, as the house of representatives, do our part to uphold those privileges and responsibilities we have been given by the constitution and i hope we do it, sir. and i would thank you and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. under the speaker's announced licy of january 3, 2013, the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. gohmert, for 30 inutes. mr. gohmert: thank you, mr.
speaker. to follow on my dear friend, mr. franks from arizona, discussion about the so-called affordable care act. i continue to hear from people who have lost their insurance, had insurance go up, significant amounts. it is not affordable. now i did hear from one of my constituents tonight about 30 out of 147 people of his place of business actually were helped by the affordable care act. and that is -- that's great. 80% of americans seem to have gotten no help or been greatly harmed by the affordable care act. their insurance has gone up
dramatically. didn't get to keep their insurance. they didn't get to keep their doctor. they didn't save $2,500. most americans have been harmed by affordable care act. it's hard for me to call it the affordable care act, but, in this body, so often, there have een bills which have for a title, actually just -- such as the affordable care act, had a name that was exactly opposite of what the bill actually was going to accomplish. the cap and trade bill, as it was called, certainly didn't help trade, but it sure did cap a lot of commerce that could have taken place and would not have been able to if that bill
had been passed. some people are pretty creative in the way they put a name on. there's no law that says a title of a bill has to be truthful and sometimes that's how you can end up with a bill calling itself affordable care, when a majority lose their insurance, don't get for re they need or, example, find out in three to five years when they need a new pacemaker, the new law will not allow them to get it. those are problems. and what i have also found more and more of are senior citizens who are now beginning to figure out that when the aarp endorsed bamacare, i don't think it's
disrespectful to the president justll the bill obamacare, as the president and others called the bill that governor omney signed in massachusetts, romneycare. i don't consider it disrespectful to former governor romney to call it romneycare. i don't think it's disrespectful to call the unaffordable care act obamacare. so no disrespect to the president intended by referring to his signature bill. but people have been hurt. people have been moved from full-time employment to part-time employment. they like their insurance policy, but then they found out they didn't get to keep it. they've lost it.
they found out their deductible shot up dramatically and can't afford the thousands of dollars that will be refired before their insurance policy kicks in. we have seen news reports about companies that had to drop spouses from coverage or families from coverage or drop coverage all together. we found out that there may be as many as 80% of those who individually bought their insurance that will or have lost their insurance. and so, when i see a number like projected 14 million americans will lose their insurance, my understanding is that most of these projections about the millions that are losing their insurance are actually talking about millions of policies that
are lost. so, for example, if it were my family when my children were growing up, then it would mean not just one policy was lost, but it would mean five people lost their insurance. so i think we'll continue to see millions and millions losing their insurance rather than getting to keep it, which is a broken promise. there was an article written by lisa myers and it's reference to her blog of ace of spadse. and i don't have the article itself here, but a great point is made, it's bad enough that we were told over and over and over, if you like your insurance, can you keep it. if you like your insurance, you can keep it. if you like your insurance, you can keep it. if you like your insurance, we
are going to make sure you can keep it. we are told those type of things over and over by the president himself and people speaking for the president as well. and the point is made that did not the law itself destroy as many insurance policies as have now been lost, but so many of the lost insurance policies have been forcibly lost by this ministration by the law, but also by the thousands of pages of regulations that have been written. in this article, it points out, in other words, the a.c.a.,
affordable care act, did make it incredibly hard for insurers to continue plans for the millions of americans who don't want comprehensive insurance. financially, insurers almost certainly had to adjust them in such a way that they would lose the grandfathered status. this isn't, quote, normal turnover in the insurance market, unquote, though there's plenty of that in the individual market. there's reasons, there's a reason why exceptionally large number of americans are getting cancellation notice this fall. it points out that very often insurance companies will keep supreme numbers down despite rising costs of insurance by raising deduct i believe so or co-payments. and that's precisely what obama's regulations say makes a
policy ought meatly ungrandfathered. people were told if you like your policy, you can keep it because we are going to grandfather them in. the president used that term, we are going to grandfather those policies. and then his health and human rvices wrote the regulations in such a way that it forced insurance companies to have to change their policies mandated some new coverage if it was going to comply with the law, but there were so many things that were written into the regulations that forced insurance companies to change their policies, which meant they could not be grandfathered. so it was bad enough that people promised, if you like your insurance, you can keep it, but there were going to be some people that lost their insurance
any way, but the regulations were written in such a way that it was going to force and has forced people to lose their insurance. so the president's own health and human services department has created more more lost policies by the way they've written the regulations. they could have been written in such a way so that the president would have been allowed to keep his promise. and all it would have taken from a strong leader, who wanted to make sure that no department made a liar out of him, would have been to either pick up the phone, write a letter or have an email sent saying, don't make a liar out of me. don't you write these regulations in such a way that it causes people to lose their insurance policies. that could have happened, but it
didn't happen. in fact, what the health and human services department did by virtue of the secretary who's in charge, they made sure that millions and millions and millions of americans would lose their health insurance. so it makes that point -- the affordable care act as written and passed, would have protected the grandfathered plans for a longer period of time and more freedom of adjustment, but the obama administration filled out such a way to make it that much harder, if not basically impossible to do. the owe baum a hea -- obama's administrations rules would have made it impossible for an insurer could to change the
firms that it uses to manage and add minister the plan which need nt affect coverage. for those ludicrous restrictions were eliminated but enough rules remain that it's near impossible to maintain a grandfathered health insurance policy. very tragic. promises made were not kept. nd also had some folks tell me that, gee, it seems disrespectful for republicans to president lk about obama without mentioning the word president. seems disrespectful. and so, mr. speaker, i certainly don't mean any ill-will any time i ave used the shorthand and
tried to use president obama, but i also hope that my friends probably every one of the democrats in this body and probably all of the republicans in this body that have referred to anything that happened in the bush administration or used the shorthand rendition of under bush without saying president who wantt those people president obama to vice president president before obama said, that they will go ahead and apologize for ever referring to bush without president in front of that. but the reason that doesn't necessarily need to happen is -- i know most people didn't mean ny iltl ill-will by that and those who hung president bush in
effa guy and said nasty things about president bush, never crossed my mind that they might they ist, but i thought just disliked the man. if you say something about the president, then you must be a raceist. and i just look so forward to the day when the dream of martin luther king, one of them, will be realized that people be judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. i testified today before the senate subcommittee of the judiciary about the stand your ground act and actually that u.s. ge comes from 1895 supreme court case where the supreme court said an individual could stand his ground.
so that's not a new invention, but i was reminded when people began to talk about racism in terms of stand your ground laws, that as a prosecutor, didn't care what anybody's race was, not as a defendant nor as a victim. everybody deserved to have protection regardless of race, creed, color, gender, national religion, but it did remind me that back when i was a judge, judges did not select the grand injure members. those were chosen by grand injure commission ergs. but the commissioners chose them for the grand jury. and there were defense attorneys that decided to attack the stem by claiming judges were
by a disproportionate number, appointing too many anglos as grand jury foremen because that's what judges did. judges selected the informationman for the grand jury. did not select the members. but among the members, would choose who the foreman would be. and i was subpoenaed one time back then without the defense attorneys doing their homework and they intended to put me on the stand in their attack on a raceist grand jury foreman system and used that to establish that, gee, it was grossly unfair, disproportionately number of anglos were chosen. and before i testified, they did
their homework and found out hat actually, it was a disproportionate appointment, if you only looked at race, i had ppointed proportionly more african-americans as informationmen of my grand jury than the percentage of african-americans in my district. . and the reason i did that is because i didn't care who anybody's race was. it didn't matter to me. but i had to look at the backgrounds of the individuals, look at the individuals who were on the grand jury, and then select from among those someone that i believed would be a leader, would be good at organization, would have the respect of the other grand jurorers and be able to work for six months as head of the grand jury. and make good decisions as a
peace maker and an organizer and so i never looked at their race. i didn't care about that. but i happened to know the people that i appointed as grand jury foremen and sometimes they were women, sometimes they were men and apparently, i couldn't have told them, but they went back and checked and, wow, i had appointed a majority of african-americans during the times i was in charge of the grand jury rather than anglos, so once they found that out, that blew their theory as far as me as a witness. so they quickly sent word that my subpoena had been dismissed and my testimony was not desired because clearly i wasn't going to help them establish a case of district judges being racist.
but i can remember a couple of the grand jury foremen i selected and had nothing to do with race. they were good people. one i remember was just a community leader, was in so many organizations that she was just -- everybody respected her. and i knew she was amazing at organization. a former assistant superintendent, same way. so, anyway, i just -- i feel like so many times people want to use the term racist and they're like those defense attorneys, they dent bother to check the facts before they tart mouthing off. but another article that i saw in the last couple of days disturbed me greatly because it of ows along in a pattern really abuse of law enforcement
, of the tools of the administration, it follows along in what really amounted to the weaponization of the internal revenue service. we still need a special prosecutor to go through and indict anyone and bring them to trial, anyone in the i.r.s. that abused their positions, anybody that has committed perjury. we need a special prosecutor to do that. obviously the justice department will not and we need someone to do that. but we have seen how abusive that this administration can be using the powers of its office to go after people. we also know, despite the promises before being elected, that this administration would be the most transparent in history, it has not been so. and more and more mainstream
reporters are starting to realize, wait a minute, these guys are not even as open as the bush administration was. i'm sorry, the president bush administration. but this story of john hayward in human events is entitled "d.h.s. raids human events alumnus, seizes list of whittle blowers." we also know this administration, instead of being the most transparent, has the dubious honor or dishonor of having prosecuted more whistle blower or leakers than any other administration in fact that tan -- administration s, in fact, more than all other administrations put together. is ruling with an iron fist. this article points out that
human events alumnus audrey hudson was the target of a department of homeland security raid in august that was us a tensably related to firearms but in a new interview with "the daily caller" she revealed that d.h.s., department of homeland security, and maryland state police also just happened to confiscate her files and notes which included information about whistleblowers inside homeland security. hudson says the files were taken without her knowledge and without a subpoena. the daily caller d confirmed that the search warrant pertained to firearms and ammunition, even that part of the story seems rather flimsy. but then we get all these juicy files that got covered up during the raid. about 4:30 a.m. on august 6, hudson said officers dressed -- and that's 4:30 in the morning. i mean, it's hard to believe
hat people sleeping peaceably, law-abiding citizens, a reporter who has written stories using sources within homeland security, that the administration didn't like, they bust in to her home with a subpoena and say, we are here to look for firearms and instead, without the consent, i would say that if the subpoena did not allow for them to take her notes pertains to -- pertaining to d.h.s. whistleblowerers who provided this information, it begs the question if perhaps these law enforcement officers acting under color of state law or federal law stole these without due process. so if we had a justice department that was going to do
justice in such an abuse of power, the same kind that would who lly prosecute people have intimidated voters at a voting location, but that doesn't seem to be the case. anyway, the article says after the sanch began hudson said she was asked by an investigator with the coast guard investigative service if she was the same audrey hudson who had written a series of critical stories about air marshals for the washington times over the last decade. the coast guard operation under the department of homeland security. hudson said that investigator miguel bosh identified himself as a former air marshal official but it wasn't until a month later, on september 10, that hudson was informed that five files, including her hand-written and typed notes from interviews with numerous
confidential sources, and other documents had been taken during the raid. quote, in particular the files included notes that were used to expose how the federal air marshal service had lied to congress about the number of airline flights they were actually protecting against another terrorist attack, unquote. hudson wrote, in a summary about the raid provided to "the daily caller." the coast guard was involved because audrey's husband works for them as an ordinance technician. what was the reason for grabbing his wife's files? she said she asked bosh why they took the files and he reresponded, they needed to run them by t.s.a. to make sure it was, quote, legitimate for her to have them. i'm sorry, legitimate for a reporter to have her own hand-written notes? what kind of country are we living in that busts into somebody's home at 4:30 in the orning to take her notes
at rding whistleblowers homeland security? we're living in a scary time. but back to the article. quote, this guy basically came in here, took my unanimous sources and turned them over -- took my whistleblowers, turned them over to the agency they were blowing the whistle on, unquote, hudson said, and these guys still worked there, quoint. -- unquote. hudson said, none of the documents were classified, no laws were broken in obtaining them, she is talking about her or dane -- her obtaining them. she said the government papers in her possession were obtained through a freedom of information act request and assertion the coast guard confirmed. how did they confirm it? they handled the material over to the, quote, source agency, unquote, for review or as hudson put it, they turned the whistleblower information over
to the agency that had the whistle blown against it. it wasn't just official documents that were seized, however, hudson says they also, quote, took four other files with my hand-written and typed interview notes with confidential sources that i stake my reputation as a journalist to protect under the auspices of the first amendment of the constitution, unquote. for her major reasons coming forward with this story is to give the whistleblowers a heads up because she's, quote, terrified to contact them, unquote, directly. this is unbelievable. this is happening in america. mr. speaker, i think we should defund the department of homeland security until such time as they start being honest about what they're doing and we get answers from the justice department. they need to be addressed.
until they provide the information that attorney general's been held in contempt for. we want to make sure law enforcement services are done, we fund those, but we don't defund the attorney general himself or the head of d.h.s. until such time as they start complying with the requirements of the law like americans across the country are required to do without this kind of abuse. we got to stop the abuse. we have the power to do it. all with goat to do is defund it -- all we got to do is defund it until they come within the letter of the law themselves and with that, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. mr. gohmert: i rise to make a motion. at this time i move that we do now hereby adjourn. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion to adjourn. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the motion is adopted. accordingly, the house stands
adjourned until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow
does best. holding show books. that is basically what this is. it is going nowhere. the reason why is they cannot pass the resolution of debt disapproval -- it cannot pass the democratic led senate. even if it did, the president would veto it. it gives republicans a chance, once again, to go on the record and show they disapprove of this increase in the debt ceiling, which they were unable to win, the showdown with president obama in terms of this -- extracting additional spending cuts in exchange for that. this is basically just an opportunity for them to go on a record and show their disapproval. >> how significant is the timing of the resolution in that the house budget committees are meeting tomorrow.
how does it play into those discussions tomorrow? >> we are going into a new chapter here. we did not have much of a pause from the last sessions of negotiating over the debt ceiling. it is seen setting. intold not put too much these votes. congress has done this a lot. the house has done a lot of votes to go on the record and show their disapproval of the debt ceiling increases. the budget conference for of setting that up, it basically underscores the deep rifts between the two parties going into the budget options. democrats and republicans will want very different things. you have seen a lot of reports, including one we did days ago, showing expectations are low and that lawmakers themselves have telegraphed they are going to go for a much more if that isage
achievable at all. class a bit more on the modest cuts they are aiming for. what can you tell us? class they have a self imposed time frame. i have confirmed from both sides there is no hammer there. the real deadlines are around when the government expires and when we approach preaching the debt ceiling again, which is february, with extraordinary measures that could push into march. if theybe surprised actually abide by that deadline, since there is really nothing hanging over them forcing them to do it. but, yes. class as the discussions get underway, who are a couple of the members on both the house and senate side that you will keep your eye out for?
chairman of the house budget committee, paul ryan, is basically being set up to be the lead negotiator for the republicans in this. you have to keep a close eye on him because that is what the republican leadership has in mind. we also put tom from oklahoma in there because he is not a moderate but he is seen as a between democrats and republicans. saide paul ryan, he republicans would be willing to discuss revenue. that has been a he -- a key stumbling block in any -- every one of the negotiations in the past three years. the fact that tom is out there and giving this kind of message is significant. at the same time, paul ryan will be important because we all know 2016ryan may have
presidential ambitions. this may be one way of giving him a feather in his cap. on the democratic side, the senate budget committee chairwoman will be someone to watch. she has been pretty clear she will insist on revenue as part of these talks. there has been a disconnect between the white house and senate democrats about exactly what they will ask on revenue. since we are looking at a small package here, nothing like the grand bargain that has -- been talked about, in the past, i would expect to focus on closing of loopholes, maybe for corporations like corporate jets and things like that. just small, one-off's that they can put into the package to help defend it up with revenue as well as spending cuts. the question is whether democrats insist there be cuts
to revenue, which could definitely be a dealbreaker. >> heidi covers congress for bloomberg news. you can read her reporting at we thank you for the update. >> the head of medicare to questions from lawmakers the website has experienced since it was launched four weeks ago. that is next on c-span. later, a memorial service for tom foley, who died earlier in the month. president obama and bill clinton were among the speakers. and kathleen sebelius will testify on capitol hill about implementing the capital law. she will be at the house energy commission live on c-span three. c-span.
we bring public affairs events from washington directly to you, putting you in the room at congressional hearings, white house events, briefings, and and offering complete gavel-to-gavel coverage of the u.s. house, all as a public service of private industry. we are c-span, created by the cable tv industry 34 years ago and funded by your local cable or satellite provider. now, you can watch us in hd. the centers for medicare and medicaid services apologizes for the issues on the website since his rollout. maryland testified before the house ways and means committee. a congressman chairs this three- hour hearing.
[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> this hearing will come to order. good morning. i would like to welcome marilyn tavener, the administrator at the center for medicare and medicaid services. welcome to the committee today. i look forward to your testimony. i look forward to the hearing to really get an honest,
straightforward assessment of the status of the health care law. six months ago, health and human services secretary sebelius told this committee a dozen times the administration will be ready on october 1. we now know the administration was not ready and they could have used five years to get the exchange is up and running. despite having more than three years to get the system up and running, officials at the center for medicare and medicaid services, who are charged with implementing the exchanges, has added -- "due to a compressed timeframe, three years should have been enough, and had the administration provided more forthcoming answers and shared in a transparent manner the reality of the challenges it was encountering, i suspect many of these glitches could have been avoided. website can eventually be fixed, the widespread towels with obamacare cannot.
almost daily, we hear of reports of obamacare increasing costs, harming job creation, and forcing americans off there've -- their current plan. the problem cannot be fixed through a catch -- tech surge. week week ago -- not a goes by where i do not hear examples about the increasing costs and how obamacare is making it harder for people to invest and grow to make it harder to hire people. schools in my district announced it would be cutting schedules to hourly workers to fewer than 30 hours a week as a result to obamacare. this month, the detroit free press reported at least 146,000 have -- based on what little information the in -- the administration has an close, more people have received cancellation notice for their health care plans this month then have enrolled in
their exchanges. the widespread egg knowledge meant the health care exchanges ed months int advance were a concern. the concerns do not stop there. they were not confident about the irs posses ability to protect confidential taxpayer information or prevent fraud, and neither am i. the exchanges not give individuals the information they need to make an informed health care decision. able to see ifns they are even eligible to be in the exchange if there incurred will be inent doctor the plan, and how much their co- pay will be? no amount of website fixes can make right the president posses broken promises that health care costs will be lower by $2500, or that americans will be able to keep the plan they have and like. those are worthy goals. reducing costs and maintaining
govern -- coverage. i would be remiss if i did not remind my colleagues of the alternative put forward by republicans at the time, the only plan scored by the nonpartisan congressional budget office as actually reducing premiums. democrats chose to go down another path and that is where it has led us. instead of moving forward, administrators should seriously consider delaying the law for families and individuals. just as it has done for big business. fear wefail to do so, i can see a fundamental breakdown of the insurance market where premiums can skyrocket, forcing millions of americans out of health care and yet still being the individual mandate tax. administrator tavener, we cannot solve a problem until we realize the full extent of the problem. your answers today and in the future will be critical to the health care law and to our work to ensure americans have access
to our health care. i ask unanimous consent all member posses written statements be included in the record. so ordered. >> thank you. colleagues. a warm welcome. we start this hearing facing a basic reality. democrats want to make the affordable care act work. congressional republicans do not. reality has been reflected in 40 plus efforts by ,epublicans to repeal dismantle, or defund the affordable care act. that reality, reflected in their zeal, shutting down the thernment and jeopardizing full faith and credit of our nation, damaging our nation posses global standing, and
leading to and during harm, costing our economy 24 billion dollars, tens of thousands of jobs, a germanic drop in consumer confidence. now, having still failed to derail the aca, the republican thes of attack has shifted new front relates to they're very clearly are challenges to implementing new pioneering access to health care . consider these headlines. for example, problems plagued rollup. plagued by delays and confusion over coverage. headlines are from 2005. as medicare part d was launched. that year, in dramatic contrast
to the republican conduct to date, democrats who would oppose the law worked to make -- to make it a success. working with republicans on a bipartisan basis. republicans who had passed that law to adjust many problems and, most importantly, we worked with our constituents to make sure they can sign up. the reality is the affordable care act, which republicans are failing to work on with democrats, is working quite effectively in states running the marketplaces. you can see from that slide. in kentucky, more than 26,000 people have enrolled in coverage. in new york, more than 47,000 have signed up. state, more than 35,000 people had enrolled as of one week ago. republicans has
erected hurdles to states throughout the nation, taking responsibility for implementing their law. the website for the federal marketplace must be fixed and it is being fixed. this gentleman from salt lake city is among those who has enrolled, a self-employed father of three. he has been uninsured for years, paying cash for doctor visits and the occasional trip to the emergency room, he told his local paper. once he got into the marketplace website, he compared 38 plans and got coverage for his family for $123 a month. quote, once they get the bugs work out, it will work well and bring peace of mind to a lot of people.
he added, "i am thrilled to have coverage. " prior to this year, what it waited him and tens of millions of other americans who do not have health insurance or the employer, but rather had to sign up on their own, was a maze of invasive personal medical history questions within applications that seemed to never end. when individuals got through the thankfully, these days are behind us. they are behind us. this hearing provides a chance for every member of this committee to proceed in a constructive, not a destructive, manner.
to lay the administrator out how the website is being fixed, as it must be. and for everyone on this committee to join in this effort to make available, not to prevent access to, quality affordable coverage for every american. i yield back. >> thank you. will hear from the administrator for the centers for medicare and medicaid services at the u.s. department --health, maryland tavener marilyn tavenner. for oralbe recognized testimony. launched one 1, we of the key provisions of the affordable care act. the new marketplace. where people without health insurance, including those who cannot afford it and those who
are not part of approved plans. we know consumers are having difficulty enrolling in the marketplace website. it is important to know that the affordable care act is more than just a website. it is a market which allows people to access affordable quality health care. it allows them to have insurance options. it creates a pooling of consumers with a statewide group plan that can spread the risk between sick and healthy, young and old, and bargain on their behalf to get them the best deal on health insurance. like creating competition where there was not competition before, insurers are now eager to new business and have created new health care plans with more choices. premiums for coverage were lower than expected, and millions of americans will apply for tax credits to make the coverage even more affordable. we know consumers are eager. tens of millions of americans have attempted to shop for
health care coverage. i want to apologize to you that the website has not worked as well as it should. we know how desperately you need affordable coverage. i want to assure you that will be there. we are working around-the-clock to develop the shopping experience you deserve. week -- weng each are seeking each week to improve the website. time, nearly 700,000 applications for coverage have been submitted across the nation. more than half of those are in the federal marketplace alone. this confirms that american people are looking for quality affordable health care coverage. we know the consumer experience has been frustrating for most americans. some have had trouble creating accounts, logging into the site.
some have had confusing error messages or had to wait for slow response times. this experience has not lived up to our expectations, and it is not acceptable. we are committed to improving performance, and have already made progress. few days, few customers could create an account. now, over 90% have. have fixed bugs and improve the experience, and we have added more capacity in order to meet demand. we are pleased these quick improvements and parts of the system are already working well. the data hub, the routing pool that allows a quick way to verify information from is sending determination through the marketplace in 1.2 seconds. morers has responded to than 1.3 million requests. even with this success, we know
there is still significant work to do. we have called in a team of experts to analyze the site, identify and prioritize fixes. we spent last week going over that. while these problems will require a lot of hard work, the bottom-line conclusion is that this site is fixable. theill ensure the work with general contractor of this project. they have the skills and expertise to help us address these problems. they will work with leadership and contractors. we are committed to improving the consumer experience. work, i continue this
encourage people to continue to apply by phone, by mail, or by finding local help in the community. the product of the affordable care act, a marketplace for affordable health insurance, will work. the product is not going away, and the people are not going to continue to wait. price is not changing. we know that americans have time to apply and enroll. thank you. >> administrator, how many people have enrolled in the exchanges? number will not be available until mid-november. haveve over 700,000 who created applications. >> do you have any idea how many of those applicants became enrollees? >> we will not have that until mid-november. we have people shopping now.
we expect the initial number to be small. that was the massachusetts experience. >> the numbers i am hearing from insurers and my home state of michigan are not good. i'll enrollees. a very small number. i think i could go to a meeting in my office and have all of them fit in, the people who have been successfully enrolled in the plans. isnderstand the stated goal 7 million by the end of march. is that correct? >> that is correct. i think critically important, of that 7 million, 2.3 million of those need to be young and healthy. i think those are your metrics. is that correct? i believe those are numbers cms has put out. in associated press reported early september that there was a memo prepared by the assistant secretary for planning and health. are you aware of the press story and that memo?
i believe it went through your office. we went through the enrollment numbers. it said there were month-to- month predictions of enrollment numbers. could you make that memo available to the committee? report,g to the press the memo estimated that 494,620 people would sign up for health insurance by october 31. or obviously very near that date. have you met that estimate? >> we will not have those numbers available until mid- november. >> do you not have any idea of how many people have enrolled? >> some are still in the process of enrolling. we will have those numbers available in mid-november. >> are you getting those numbers? >> am i getting those numbers? not yet. >> you have no numbers on who is
enrolled? you have no idea? >> we will have those numbers available in mid-november. >> no one is forwarding even weekly updates? have seen some in the press. that was on the graph earlier. we will get those numbers in mid-november. >> i understand you are not publicly releasing those numbers. i am asking, do you have any idea, on a weekly basis -- how do you not know? will have those numbers available in mid-november. >> is your staff updating you? are you getting those? i realize you are not prepared to give those to the committee, even though this is a government program and we are trying to do oversight. we are try to understand what the problems are. but do you have some idea of what those problems might be, in terms of the numbers? >> i am not quite sure what you are asking.
>> clearly, you are getting some information. do you have any idea how many of those can move to the next step of enrolling, looking at plans? how many are eligible? how many have decided to enroll? >> once individuals complete the gout -- the application, to into the shopping experience, where they can look at plans. we get numbers on the number of applications, and then we need to break those out. it is the rollout numbers we will give him mid-november. >> you have the applications, but not how many people successfully enrolled. >> people are still in the process. >> of those 700,000, do you know how many are eligible for medicaid at that point? >> we have some information on who is eligible for medicaid. obviously, states have their own information. it depends on whether a state has expanded or not. it is very state specific.
>> a significant number would not be in the exchange, if they are enrolling in medicare. >> we will have that information for you with the number. >> if they are eligible for medicaid, they are not enrolling in the exchange. >> correct. >> there could be a significant portion of that 700,000 that would not be enrolling in an exchange. >> there could be numbers in there. how many havew qualified employer-sponsored insurance, and therefore will not be eligible for the exchange?
do you know how many of those 700,000 are young adults who might choose to stay on the parent plant? >> i do not. >> do know how many are undocumented aliens, and who might not be eligible to enroll in the exchange? >> if you are aware, we have a connection to the data hub to check for that. if they are not eligible, they do not complete the application. i do not go on to shop. >> of the 700,000, do you have any idea how many are just looking, and how many are trying to enroll? >> we actually look at the people who are shopping. and obviously the majority of the people completing -- aretions of their there to go through to shopping. >> there are media reports that say as many as 80% of that
number are eligible for medicaid. is that number something you would dispute? >> i do not know how they would get that information. have hoped -- >> i frankly would have hoped for more from you. if that is true, then less than have somethingot that makes him ineligible. that means you are likely to hit less than a quarter of the .ctober estimate of 494,620 how many people did you estimate would enroll between november 15 and december 15, two weeks off from that? >> i do not have that in front of me. i would be happy to get that information. >> i would certainly appreciate that. but given that the backend systems are not working, and
insurers have resorted to manually enrolling people one by does notink the system have human resource capacity to enroll the numbers being protected here. i assume the people holding off are the young and healthy. so the risk pools in these exchanges are not going to align with the projections. i think not only are we going to miss the enroll a target. there going to miss demographic makeup as well. that will be important to have a functioning system. if the demographics are wrong, and there are not as many young people enrolling, what happens to premiums? >> the premiums are locked down for 2014. obviously, the next six months of and roman are critical. i will remind you that enrollment does continue until march 31 of 2014. the massachusetts experience was
very slow initially, and it ramped up over time. we expect the same type of projections. >> but it does not look like you are even meeting your own projections that you had prepared. >> i had not listed any information on enrollment. i feel like there are assumptions you are making. referring to this associated press memo that i appreciate you are willing to give to your committee, that said half a million people would sign up by october 31, and they would enroll. if we do not meet this demographic of 2.3 million young people, it is very clear that premiums will go through the roof weather in the next few months or in the future. if that is where we are headed, and it appears that we are, how will you provide relief to individual americans who do not want or cannot afford this , and how do we prevent the premiums spike in 2015 as
insurers readjust their prices to reflect the actual enrollee demographic? you look at the premiums for 2014, we did not see premium spikes. we saw a very competitive marketplace. in fact, we have over 200 issuers in the federal exchange alone, offering more than 3000 plans at very competitive races. markets have as many as 54 plans in a market. we have also seen 25% new issuers to markets. so far, what we have seen is the opposite of what you are suggesting. have you enrolled in the plan? >> i have employer-sponsored insurance. i would not be eligible. >> from the federal government, you mean? >> i am participating in employer-sponsored insurance.
>> you have government insurance. have you gone on the site and tried to enroll or tried to shop for plans? >> i have not gone on to shop for the plans. i signed up for an account to see what it looked like and to go to the application process. i did not sign up for coverage. i am not eligible for coverage. nor did i shop. >> i just want to mention to you a letter i received from my district. this man wrote me and said, my wife has been recently informed by her insurance carrier that her health care policy does not comply with the affordable care act. now, we must purchase a new policy to get the same coverage, at an 18% increase in our premium. what happened to "if you like your insurance, you can keep it"? >> before the affordable care act, if you were in the individual market, you are living at a 50% turn. half the people in the individual market were either
kicked off for pre-existing conditions, saw premiums go up at least 20% a year, and there were no protections for them. sometimes, they were in plans they thought were fine until they needed hospitalization. then, they found out it did not cover hospitalization, or did not cover cancer. since 1986, health-care costs and coverage have been the number one issue for small businesses, for the last 20 or 30 years. we have been talking about it for the last 20 or 30 years. i came into this job to try to deal with this issue. what i would say is this. now, if the issuer has decided to change the plan -- did not have to. inds were grandfathered in 2010. if they did not make significant changes, they could keep the plan they had. at some insurance companies have decided -- i think that is what you are referring to -- that
they want to offer new plans. if so, they have to come into the requirements of the affordable care act. you have to offer essential coverage benefits. discriminate based on sex. these premium increases were going on a long time prior to the affordable care act. we have seen the most premium moderation in the last three years that we have seen probably in 15 or 20 years. i tried to explain the real issues. thehe carrier told them plan did not comply. nothing you said had anything to do with how they could get their costs down. i think that is the real problem they are saying. >> what i would tell that individual is that there carrier is telling them they are changing the plan and offering an increase. they need to take a look at what is available in their state and in their market.
that is certainly available to them through the exchange. cracks at an 18% increase. with that, i will recognize mr. levin. >> thank you. a warm welcome. the chairman talked about the website, and you said it is going to be fixed. i might say, if everybody would pitch in to make it work, the goals that have been set would be more readily met. that is what happened with the prescription drug program. we all pitched in to make it work. it had major problems at the .eginning instead of standing in the way, we said, let us make it work. it began to work.
if we all had the same spirit about aca, it would be more than helpful. but then the chairman asked you the notices that are coming from insurance companies. i would like to ask you about that. a gentleman from michigan who had an $800 blue cross plan got this notice from the michigan blue cross, went into the website with the help of navigators, and ended up with the blue cross silver hmo plan, with tax credits in that case. it is $77 a month. and let me refer you to the press,"w on "meet the with the blue cross florida ceo. he was asked by david gregory, in florida, the oldest and largest health care plan provider, florida blue cross, confirmed it is cutting 300,000
policies. this is what the chairman of blue cross of florida said. are not cutting people. and i quote. he are actually transitioning people. folkse been informing that their plan does not meet the test of the essential health benefits. therefore, they have a choice of many options that we make available through the exchange. with subsidy, many people will be getting better plans at a lesser cost. so this has become a matter of legitimate discussion. -- i think of all of us think all of us would appreciate your addressing it. >> prior to the affordable care act days, these individuals in small group or individual markets had no protections. they had no guarantees of coverage.
they were being charged 20% premium air -- premium increases year after year. timeuld be kicked out any for pre-existing conditions. sometimes, they thought they had coverage and did not. they did find out maybe they had a $500,000 hospital limit, or certain disclaimers. if you were diagnosed with asthma or high blood pressure, or some other chronic disease, you might not be able to get coverage at all. that is what is terrifying. that is the first part. , to try we told issuers to get transition time, if they wanted to keep policies, in a group market or individual market, they could. now, some of them are moving to the new standards. the standards under the affordable care act are simple.
cannot be taking money more than 20% to marketing, advertising, and profit. you have to meet 10 essential health benefits. you have to define co-pays, deductibles, and diseases in clear and understandable terms. you had to have choices among plans. in the individual markets, folks may qualify for tax credits. some may qualify for medicaid expansion. this problemot -- existed long before the affordable care act. now, folks are transitioning to the new standards of the affordable care act, which guarantee you cannot be denied. you will not be kicked off of a policy as you develop a problem. these are important protections that are now available through the affordable care act. i think that is important. >> mr. johnson is recognized.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. lavender, thank you for being here. i have been hearing from folks are rightfully serious about their concerns and fears about their health care. steven from plano tried to purchase insurance through the exchange, but ended up more confused and frustrated. operators on the 1-800 line did not have answers to his specific questions. i simply reiterated that anyone could sign up for the exchange, but could wait until that evening or the next day to apply , since the systems were having technical difficulties. a father went to renew his seven-year-old daughter's medical plan. she had her premiums doubled. those are real stories of people who have to live with a law that
up until now has completely failed them. the administration delayed the employer mandate for one year. -- treasury witnessed witness before the committee testified the reason the administration granted big business a one-year delay is "employers and their representatives have requested transition relief for 2014 because of concerns about the difficulty or cost of complying with the employer mandate." secretary sibelius appeared before this committee and repeatedly said obamacare was ready. it clearly was not. launch the failed indicate many individuals are going to have to at least have as much difficulty complying with the individual mandate as big business had with the employer mandate? yet from the announcement last night, you have only given individuals a six-week delay.
people haded 700,000 submitted applications for exchange coverage nationwide. but with all the challenges you have been facing, there are some serious questions about what these applicants know. the shop andrted browse feature is not giving consumers a real picture. in some cases, people could end up paying double what they see on the website. how many applicants applied based on the wrong premium information? do you know? >> individuals figured out if they were eligible for a tax credit. i do not know where cbs is getting their information about erroneous tax credits. i cannot address that. i will say that in the
individual mandate that folks can apply through march 31. we will probably have the website in good working order by the end of november. anare going to predict increase in enrollment in december, and probably again in march. we believe we are in good shape to handle that. theou have identified problem and are taking steps to identify who received faulty price information and provide the right information. are you doing that now? thef we have given people wrong information, we will certainly correct it. cbs ist sure what referring to. in mother jones, there was something about how health care could be hacked. security experts say the website is vulnerable to a common
technique that hackers use to steal personal information. as you may know, i am chairman of the social security subcommittee, and one of my longest priorities has been to protect american social security numbers. obamacarecord, is the website 100% safe from hackers arsenalsteal americans information, including social security numbers? yes or no? >> to follow all the standards to protect information, including social security numbers. >> are you trying to say yes? towe follow the standards protect information. yes, sir. >> folks are confused and scared. they have heard the horror stories and are now experiencing them first-hand. how can they trust the federal government to not only fix the website, but more importantly give them the assurance that personal information will be safe and health care will be affordable? if they want to keep their
current plan, they can do so. the problems do not stop at the technical failures of the website. the real problem stems from the colossal favor -- failure to do deliver what was promised to the american people. >> mr. chairman, welcome to a distinguished committee. wonder why the administration appears to be under such severe attack by some members of this committee, especially as relates to providing health care for 30 million americans. it should give you some comfort to know the republican party always fought vigorously against these type of programs. i do not think one republican
voted for the social security act, even though those old enough to enjoy the benefits. >> that is not accurate. >> maybe one or two. i do not know. but they opposed medicare. i spoke with president johnson, and he shared with me at the ranch the people who had signed off on medicare. anyway, it is big government. even if it saves lives, who cares? you are against big government. why should obama be spared the attack because he wants americans to be healthy and strong and productive? we have to be consistent, and you guys have been. don't understand is, people are not born as republicans and democrats. there has to be somebody, regardless of party label, that has suffered the embarrassment
and the pain of being denied an insurance policy because they were sick before. the people who actually need health care the most were too high risk for some of the thisance companies, and body, republicans and democrats, allowed this to happen. when i was a kid, if my mother took three of us young children to see a her, and we were not sick how much they would think she was crazy. she could not afford a doctor. now, health care will provide you getting the type of treatment to avoid being sick and having to lose your dignity. and in personal emergency rooms that provide the most expensive health care we have. but republicans, who have always been admired for being fiscal conservatives, has certainly seen the price of health care, the lack of quality that we may , sore toay -- today
become such a part of our national budget. in my opinion, it is a threat to our national security. you need healthy young people to fight these wars. health care is important from birth throughout one's life. i do not know how you are going to explain, when this program, which is destined to succeed -- how, politically, you are going to explain your physicians today. and since your entire political program is locked into hatred for the president and this program, it seems to me that we have to find other ways for us to politically combat each other , because i hate to see the day that there is no republican onty and i have to rely just my party for justice and fair
play. we have to come together some kind of way to see what is best for america. you may not like this program, and it certainly has been disappointing as a start. but what i want to see more from this committee is, how can we improve and get quality health care for all americans? this has to be part of the goal that you have. and you also have to recognize that we are lucky enough to have public servants to work for the administration, with a democrat or republican. they are servants the same way we are, and they deserve some dignity as well. america, i hope and have every reason to believe, like social security, like medicare, that the goodness of the program will prevail. and if there is anything we can do to help you, and there may be some republicans that will join
with me, to make certain that we get rid of what is not working and make certain everyone has access to health care, i wish i could see the politics involved in this. because i am a partisan. means aronger america stronger party, and that is what we are all here for. i just want to thank you for your dedication, and for you to recognize that it is all political and we have to do our job and get on with it. thank you for your service. >> mr. brady is recognized. >> a quick fact check on the blast from the past. republicans did support social security and medicare. the publicans were the ones who reformed medicare to add the important prescription drug benefit, so seniors could lead healthier will -- lead healthier --es and enjoy their grant their grandchildren more. the flaw is not the website.
itself. is the law we inject 159 new federal agencies, bureaucracies, and commissions between you and your health care. this was supposed to be the easy part. wait until you see the government making decisions about patient care, about reimbursements and treatments that you receive from your local doctor in the hospital. i have a great deal of respect for you, and i think many republicans do. yet the white house, secretary sibelius, you, and your staff made repeated claims that everything would be ready on time. everything was a go. none of that proved to be true. now, we are told everything will be ok very soon. why should the american people believe you now? would go back to what has
worked in the last 3.5 years since the affordable care act was implemented. we have been able to make a of younge in the lives people. >> but specifically on the website and the exchanges. why should the american people believe you? you have had nearly four years to get it ready. you are saying in four weeks, it will be great. why should anyone believe these claims? >> we have identified two major problems. the initialo with volume. despite our best volume projections, we underestimate the volume and interest in the site. is notnoted the volume the same as the applicants and the enrollment. clearly, you were not shopping for it. the number of applicants, the number of enrollees, apparently still not known, is pretty modest. wouldn't you agree?
>> i would tell you that the number of visitors to the site and the number of people interested in completing applications was larger than even our initial projections. we worked our projections off of the 7 million number. we also worked on her history with editor part d. -- with medicare part d. we have added capacity and system performance. we have found what i will call glitches, as we call them in the public term -- in the actual application itself, which we are repairing. that is the gradual improvements you will see over the next four weeks. that is why i am confident about the end of november. >> my constituents are frightened, like millions of americans. they are being forced out of health care plans that they like. the clock is ticking on a website that is broken. their health care is not a glitch. it is what they depend upon.
thehave been described as quarterback of the obamacare rollout. i am sure that is not the term you chose for yourself. no can you guarantee american will experience a gap in their health care? thatat i can guarantee is we have a system that is working. we are going to improve the speed of that system. >> excuse me. you are saying the system right now is working? >> it is working. it is not working at the speed we want and the success rate we want. those are the things we are working on. we have an alternative message for folks. you can use the call centers. they can use paper applications. inhave in person assistance each state. we can reach out to each person, help them select the plan, and enroll. >> this is not supposed to be fixed until november 1. people have just two weeks to apply, enroll, be confirmed.
whenhappens on january 1, they have an illness? they need patient care. what do they do? >> they actually have until march 30 12 enroll. >> but their point has been canceled, as millions of americans have found out. talking about people who -- >> i am just trying to -- what my constituents want to know -- what happens? >> the individuals who received notices from their issuers is a different situation. they can certainly, obviously, sign up. transfer, as we talked about earlier. they can go on the exchange or call the call center. >> my point is, they do not have health care. they have tried to get on the website unsuccessfully. it is january 1. they are facing a gap in coverage. >> i am telling you, they can
call the call center today, and we will help them. they can go online. if they are not successful, we will help them through the call center. there are more methods than just the website. that is important. think what has become clear as well is, obamacare is not ready. is, why don't we make it voluntary? why don't we give americans a choice, so they are not forced into this health care they do not want? >> mr. mcdermott is recognized. >> mr. ringel has asked me to correct something. the boat coming out of the committee was on a partyline vote. there were no republicans who voted on it when it left his committee, social security. you were 81 who finally voted for it. mostly progressive, but they are not left in the public. >> i am glad we are debating
current events, here. >> reclaiming my time, mr. chairman. with the way my republican colleagues and been fretting over affordable care act exchanges, you would never know they spent $24 billion shutting down the country to get rid of it. suddenly, they seem desperate to see a bill they did not want actually work. it is like the "annie hall" joke. the exchanges are terrible, and not enough people can enroll. this is one of the biggest reforms our country has ever made, and we are only four weeks into it. medicare was not built in a day. in heart d -- part d did not roll out without snags along the way. many of the republicans calling for blood along this rollout are begging for patients on part d. the kinks on that rollout were easily brushed off by many gop alarmist's who sit on this day
us. dais.ited-- -- on this we waited six months on medicaid part d. we are declaring this dead after four weeks. cannot get caught up in the glitches and technical difficulties and lose our perspective. help lines are up and running. i want to put the first chart up, because i think you need to know it is working in some states in this country. we have had a health plan finder in the state of washington that has been out on the street before october 1. in washington state, we were ready to go, and we have got 92,000 people who have now enrolled. there is a difference between enrolling and having your plan
approved, because you have to make your first payment. when you talk about enrollment, you may be talking about something different. you are not comparing apples and oranges. but there are states in which it is working. people can sign up by mail, in person. he have a mobile sign up van going around the state, stopping in small towns and giving people a chance to talk to somebody. people are already in the program. not just finished the application. there have been some glitches even in our state. but we got around them. our country does have a serious problem with access to quality health insurance. it is not being caused by websites. all the computer programmers in the world are not going to be able to help the 180,000 hoosiers that fall into the affordable coverage gap because indiana is not expanding its medicaid. of course, that is nothing compared to georgia's 400,000
people who are not going to get anything, or florida 760,000. and then of course there is texas. texas is always the best. they are not going to be outdone. 1,046,430 people will simply get nothing. no medicaid. i guess they could come to the government exchange, which people here want to kill. texans,over a million working poor, with minimum-wage jobs, multiple of them. and they are just trying to get by. they could be covered at no cost to themselves or the state of texas. but instead the gop wants to see this president failed, because they would rather let their constituents go uninsured than compromise. those texans and floridians and hoosiers are simply out of luck. states,e, in other red like kentucky, they have
enrolled already 26,000 people through the state exchange or expanded medicaid. arkansas -- they don't want it want toand do not accept the medicaid money. they constructed their own way, in cooperation with the federal government. they have got 56,000 people enrolled in arkansas. here is a red state that worked very hard to partner with the federal government and arrive at a solution that is working for its residents. it is time to start working together. 44 attempts to repeal this law. it is a law, folks. it is up and running. it is going to run. it is time to stop this kind of sniping and get together and figure out how to make it work. no one on our side things the law is perfect. >> thank you. mr. ryan is recognized. >> thanks for being here. i think what we are seeing are
all these rude awakenings the american people are waking up to find, promises made and promises broken. we had a hearing in this room on august 1 with the irs. the irs confirmed that the delay in the employer reporting requirements would mean the irs would not have the data on the backend from employers until 2016 to verify if an individual had been given an offer of affordable employer-sponsored insurance in 2014. this matters because it tells you whether a person is eligible for a taxpayer-funded subsidy or not. to mitigate this, the irs commissioner told us we are going to help the individual at the front-end when they are navigating through the exchange to understand whether they have an employer plan. let me ask you this. the 700,000 applicants you have received -- how many of them did you verify whether or not they have been offered or have them offered employer-sponsored insurance?
verification of employer- sponsored insurance is part of the application process. if in fact that was available to them, they would not go on and complete the application. -- you had nof way of corroborating? >> if you have gone online and go to the application, it requests additional information, and we have ways of verifying whether or not employer- sponsored coverage was offered. it is not as simple as yes or no. if they don't have it, we accept that. if it is a yes, we try to work with them to see if they are eligible for anything or not. >> i look at yesterday. you released a report that talked about young adults. a reported, these estimates do not take into account tax credit eligibility requirements related to other minimum essential coverage or tax filing requirements. young adults on parent plants.
proactively finding out if individuals under age 26 are eligible to stay on their parents plans? aey are not eligible for subsidy them. >> what we have seen is, since the affordable care act, we have over 3 million young adults getting coverage through their parents plans, which is pretty much the pool we anticipated. >> but when they go on the website, are you verifying whether or not their parents have a plan that they are eligible for, before determining whether they themselves get a subsidy? >> it is part of the application process. i can get you more information. >> here is the point. two weeks ago, we passed a law that president obama signed. the secretary shall certify to congress that the exchanges verify such eligibility, consistent with the requirements of the act. here is the question. are we really verifying at the
front-end whether a person is eligible for the subsidies or not? here is why this matters. records,econcile these they get taxed the money back if they are not eligible for the subsidy. this is what i mean when i say rude awakenings. people are signing up for insurance. they are getting tax credits subsidies, funded by taxpayers. the irs is already telling us they are confused about how to do this. you are not telling us whether or not you are proactively determining whether an under 26- year-old is eligible for the subsidies you are trying to sell them. the problem is, once we learn whether or not they were eligible -- if they were not, people in good faith will be signing up for subsidies they are not eligible for. >> i think you are asking a different question. are we doing 100% income verification? >> and subsequent eligibility verification. >> part of the application
process is, are you dependent on your parents? are you dependent on their tax plan? if so, we moved them in that direction. you are asking for income verification. income not asking about verification. because the employer mandate has been delayed, you had to come up with a new verification tool to determine their eligibility for subsidies. if a person is offered insurance at their job, they cannot get obamacare subsidies. if a person is 25 years old and go on the website, and they say their income is one thing, and that is eligible for subsidy, they can get the subsidy. but if they were eligible to be on their parents plan, they cannot get that subsidy. are you filtering that? heres thank you for your hard wd
your years of service. i happen to believe that health care is a right and not a privilege. it is not just for the fortunate few, but all citizens of america. this is the law of the land, passed by congress, signed into law by the president, and upheld by the supreme court. their have been more than 40 attempts to repeal the act, and it did not succeed. by attempting to repeal it, members of this body, members on the other side of the aisle, close down this government and threaten the economy. it cost us more than $24 million. this reminds me of another time in our history not so long ago. during the 1950's, many southern
senators signed a southern manifesto after the supreme court decision of 1954. those senators, along with many southern governors, subscribe to the doctrine of notification. what we saw on the part of the republican members of the house and some of the republicans in the senate. the affordable care act is working. it is helping to make health care affordable and accessible to hundreds, thousands, and millions of our citizens who have never had it before. when i was growing up in rural alabama, we could not afford to see a doctor. people in alabama, in georgia, in kentucky, in arkansas, and all across the deep south can see a doctor.
, whatt do what is right is fair, and what is just. madam administrator, i have a want this morning, and i you to walk us through this chart. i want to use my remaining time for you to explain to the members of the committee the success and the benefits of the aca. there has been a deliberate and systematic attempt on the part of the majority in the house and the minority in the senate to make it impossible for all americans to receive quality health care. and some of us will not stand for it. we will stand up and fight for what is right, what is fair, and what is just. health care is a right and not a privilege. walk us through the chart. 78 milliontart with consumers saving $3.4 billion on
their premiums. this is due to some of the work around the medical loss ratios. these benefits went in checks to individuals. i got thank you notes from people i have never heard of, never met, thanking me for getting some rebate back. it could go to the individual or go back into their premium for the following year. 17 million children with pre- existing conditions used to be able to be denied coverage. this goes back to the individual market that existed prior to the affordable care act. young adults able to stay on their adults health insurance plans -- that was critical with what we are going through with the economy. 7.1 million seniors in the doughnut hole. you saw our release today about the part b premium being flat for next year. that is some of the work of the affordable care act and controlling costs. going back to your point,
congressman, if we had the highest outcomes -- if we had the lowest infant mortality, the longest lifespan, maybe what we are paying would be worth it. but it is not the case. as you know, our country does not good -- does not look good in terms of overall health statistics. and the south is suffering from that more than the rest of the country. >> with that, i yield back the rest of my time. mr. ryan'snse to question, we went through the website. we do not see anywhere where it shows that you are under 26 and there is for a vocation. >>x let me say one thing -- let me say one thing i have wrong. as a young adult, you can stay on your parents policy -- >> but the question was -- >> or you may go as an individual and would be eligible for a subsidy. >> if you are under 26 -- >> you can go either way. quick you can get a subsidy and get that back in the tax return.
you are eligible. you can be on your parents health care. and you are still eligible for the subsidy -- >> i will remind you, part of what you complete on the application is, do you have coverage? you are under penalty of perjury. you have to tell the truth on your application. it is kind of a requirement. >> in your submitted testimony, you attributed the problems to the website to a subset of contractors. is that correct? >> i do not think i said that it was due to a subset of contractors. i said we have two issues that we are dealing with. the first was capacity. in our first few days, the volume was more than we anticipated. we had to add capacity. we had a problem with account creation, e-mail account creation, which was subsequently fixed. >> on your august 1 testimony to the house energy and commerce committee, to congressman pitt's
question -- do you remember this question? ask you will have to ask the question. do the contractors have certain targets or milestones that have to meet? you replied, absolutely. he then asked, can you tell us today that every contractor has met those targets and is on time? you replied, yes sir, i can. it seems there are two possibilities. first, the exchanges were progressing fine for years, as he repeatedly told congress, and the breakdown resulted from problems with a few contractors that occurred 60 days for obamacare was opened to the public. the second possibility is that there were problems much earlier, that were being reported in the press, that you did not tell congress about these. which was closest to the truth? >> if i remember the question correctly, it related to the hubble. the hub was progressing on time and on schedule, and still is.
it has operated pretty much flawlessly. roast of the questions were around -- most of the questions were around the hub. >> it has been suggested that neither criminal background checks nor high school diplomas will be required for navigators. >> could you repeat the question? i am sorry. >> neither high school diplomas nor criminal background checks will be required for those you hire to help americans navigate the obamacare website. >> i do not think that is true. through >> ok. has anyone in the white house or anyone else asking to delay approaching enrollment numbers in regards to the question at the beginning, -- >> no. remember, we said all along we would release our numbers. class no one at the white house